So, you’ve almost decided to go camping; but you’re wondering what you can expect. Will there be stress or relaxation? You may experience physical pain from usually unused muscles, or perhaps the benefits will outweigh the perceived negatives. This is a good thought process to have. In my mind, the physical and mental benefits of camping will push you over the edge and you’ll start planning your trip before you hit the second chapter.
Properly planned camping trips can cause relaxation.
Planned properly, camping can be relaxing. But, beware of the potential physical exhaustion which can occur with ill-informed choices. Depending on decisions like where you go, how you camp, the length of your stay, and what you bring, relaxation may only be a longed-for dream. But there is hope, so keep on reading and I’ll help you design a successful camping trip.
Often times, getting out of your current environment and replacing your daily concerns with activities like building a fire, sleeping in a sleeping bag, or making s’mores over a campfire can help to push out your usual concerns and allow you to relax in the comfort of simplicity. You get a fresh perspective on life and family that you wouldn’t normally get in the day-to-day grind. The campsite is there waiting for you. You just have to take the hardest step of all and walk out your front door and get in the car to head out for an adventure you won’t regret.
Personally, I feel at home in the mountains. I love being there with the views and the hikes and the trees. The people and music are great. There are so many awesome things to see and do there. Find your passion by going out and experiencing the world. You can experience it slow, in a tent or on foot. You’ll see views from your campsite and on your hikes that you’ll totally miss through your car window or on your TV. Just go and enjoy the journey.
A new normal provides instant gratification.
When we get away and into a different context, our brain can back-out of the humdrum or stress of day-to-day life. While camping you are in a temporary new routine, which can be a nice health adjustment for your mind. Mentally we push out concerns from the old normal and replace them with immediate activities. This process allows instant gratification by being out of your ordinary circumstance.
When you camp, you’re not performing your normal activities so your body adapts to what you ask of it. We fall into ruts by repetitively doing the same physical exercises. Conversely, there are times we do nothing. While camping, you’re throwing new actions at your body and those new endeavors keep you in motion much of the time, they also challenge your body and spirit. That is a good thing. You may be tired at the end of the day, but you’ve recharged your mind and body in a beneficial way that will positively impact you for days or weeks to come after you get back home.
In daily life, you may attempt to minimize your motion. We tend curtail the number of steps while cooking a meal or travel to our job with the shortest route, or in our office most of us sit around typing on a computer. While camping, we’re in a position where we can be constantly moving which forces our bodies to adjust. What that means is that we’re burning energy on creative work which I think is very enjoyable and rewarding.
No interruptions allow for deep conversations.
Possibly, the most wonderful thing about camping is the one-on-one time spent with loved ones without the normal of interruptions of daily life. When at home or at work, many things demand our attention. But, when camping, it’s a totally different situation. Diverse issues vie for our concentration. Cell coverage may be non-existent or limited. Because of this, there’s a good chance you’re going to have conversations at a level you probably didn’t otherwise. At home you can turn on the TV or pick up your phone or login to your computer to check email. When camping, you may not even have a cell signal. Sitting around the campfire with laughter filling the air and joy in your hearts, that’s the goal.
You will want to plan ahead for how to handle electronic usage at the campsite. Today’s kids are often addicted or borderline addicted to constant contact through a smart phone. If you totally take them away, that may create frustrations that will keep your children from enjoying the trip. It may be that no electronics use is too much to ask, that may seem like punishment. Look beyond the whining and moaning and complaining and figure out a win-win situation that works for your family. Your kids win because they are looking up from their phone long enough to enjoy the outdoors. So if completely taking away the phones is going to really be an impediment to them savoring the weekend, then allow your kids to use them a couple of hours a day. Another option is to not let them recharge electronics. When the battery dies, then your phone usage ends for the weekend. This is a great way to teach them how to budget a resource. Whatever you do, let your children know a set of clear rules. Camping is a new situation for everyone and if letting you kids have their phones for a few minutes makes them more receptive to camping, then maybe that is a good plan.
Seek out priceless moments.
One of the things I crave and look forward to when camping are priceless moments. You may be alone and look out across the valley to see the opposite mountain or you may take in a deep breath and enjoy the rare view. It may just be you because you’re the first one up in the morning and you’re enjoying the quiet and the beauty. Or perhaps someone you love laughs which makes you revel in joy. Possibly you’re the one laughing. Maybe everyone is laughing around the campfire.
Camping is one of the greatest ways to generate these special times. In later chapters we’ll talk about the ways you can set yourself up for success or failure. If you let them, you will find priceless moments camping. Then you will have memories and stories that you and your kids will cherish for years to come.
I saw a meme on Pinterest that had a Prius at the top of the image, and at the bottom a Jeep in the desert sitting on the crest of a hill, in front of a sunset. A guy and his kids are in the Jeep enjoying the sun setting in this majestic place. The closing message of the meme said, “Your kids will never, ever remember you getting fifty-five miles per gallon. However, they will remember the night you watched the sun set over the mountains.”
Be receptive to what will be beautiful memories.
One way to generate your own memories is through camping. My goal in this book is to lead you through how to discover them. When you are well prepared, have knowledge and training and proper equipment, then, you’ve put some of the adversity behind you and you’re in a good situation for those priceless moments to occur. The all you have to do is be receptive to catch them and revel in them.
Knowledge is power and weighs nothing. You can take this knowledge and couple it with a list of skills for your trip. It is that simple! As you’re camping, you’re not worried about a sleeping bag getting wet; you’re enjoying the memories created with your loved ones.
So, let’s get started! I’d be honored if you’d let me share what I’ve learned and some of my many camping experiences. My hope is this book will enrich your camping trips and help you find those priceless moments.